We’ve seen how complex government IT projects are. From the healthcare.gov projects to countless small-scale initiatives, learning how to properly implement and deploy technology projects is a huge undertaking for government agencies.
So where can we begin? It’s clear that dynamic leadership in the public sector is needed to successfully deploy and implement an IT project. Yet, in such a fast paced and digital world, the way we acknowledge and define leadership is changing. We could argue that leadership starts at the top, and flows down to employees. Or, you could argue that leadership is actually a byproduct of program and project managers, and flows up. Either case is possible and the key is learning how you can drive innovation and change within your agency, regardless of hierarchy. After doing a bit of reflecting, I created the following list of effective leadership skills from successful IT project leaders. Here are six themes for you to consider that can lead to successful IT projects:
- A leader focuses on project management skills: Project management comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s impossible to be everywhere at once, but the best leaders are the ones who know when to steer and when to row.
- Leaders hire smart: “Hire slow, fire fast,” is a common phrase that resonates well with leaders. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s just a bad fit, and it’s better for everyone to part ways with the organization.
- Leaders know their culture: Being able to know the environment you are operating in, and know how to drive solutions to complex problems in your environment.
- Leaders are diligent about setting goals and metrics: Goal setting is essential, and always setting your team up for success is a must when defining goals, both organizational and for employees.
- Leaders never stop learning: I love leaders who never stop learning, they are always looking to improve and are constantly pursuing ways to advance as leaders.
- Leaders communicate effectively: For IT project teams, leaders are able to express value and opportunity using the right terms to stakeholders. They are able to speak to the stakeholder effectively, and gather their support by describing value in terms they care about.
We all aspire to be better and do more, but these six themes must become part of your ethos as a team member. While reading this short post, I’d challenge you to remember that often when we embark on reading leadership blogs, books or conversations, our interpretations are telling us more about ourselves than the authors. I love it when authors key into dynamic and take us on a journey to learn more about ourselves, by unlocking new insights, and help us derive something new from their experience. It’s then up to us to implement, reform and learn the best ways to become better managers, co-workers, brother, sister, father, son, daughter, or whatever context you are exploring.
Technology is playing an unbelievably important role for government, but layering more technology on bad architecture, with flawed leadership or de-motivated teams is not going to solve anything for government. Now is the time to not only to reboot your IT, but also your leadership skills.
How are you implementing these six traits?
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